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  • 📈 2024 Budget Rises in Durham, 🏥 Winter Health Tips, 🚔 R.I.D.E. Alert, 📦 Boxing Day Schedule, 🏆 Whitby Trivia, and 🏅 Local Business Nominations!

📈 2024 Budget Rises in Durham, 🏥 Winter Health Tips, 🚔 R.I.D.E. Alert, 📦 Boxing Day Schedule, 🏆 Whitby Trivia, and 🏅 Local Business Nominations!

Issue #026

Issue #026 - December 26, 2023

Happy Boxing Day!

** Note: Sometimes Gmail clips the end of the newsletter. You can read the whole newsletter online…

In this issue of Whitby Thrive…

☀️ Today’s Weather in Whitby 

💰 Durham Regional Council Sets 7.5% Increase in 2024 Budget Guideline Amid Financial Challenges

 🩻 Lakeridge Health's Medical Director Highlights Winter Health Precautions

 🚨 DRPS R.I.D.E. Campaign: If you See Somethings, Say Something

 📦 Boxing Day 2023 in Durham Region: What's Open and What's Closed

🏆 Whitby Area Holiday Trivia

 🔔 Got a Favourite Whitby Business? Nominate Them for a Feature in Our Community Newsletter!

 ⚽️ Ontario Tech University to Host 2024 U SPORTS Men's Soccer National Championship

 📅 Whitby Events

Durham Regional Council Sets 7.5% Increase in 2024 Budget Guideline Amid Financial Challenges

Durham Regional Council recently set the stage for their 2024 fiscal plan by approving the Property Tax Supported Business Plans and Budget Guideline. This guideline outlines a 2.5 percent increase for the Durham Regional Police Services Board and a 5.0 percent rise for all other regional programs and services. The increase also includes at least 0.5 percent to address the expected property tax impacts from various Ontario bills, including Bill 23 (More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022) and Bill 134 (Affordable Homes and Good Jobs Act, 2023).

This guideline is a crucial part of the annual budgeting process, setting an overall property tax cap for the 2024 Business Plans and Budget. It aims to provide direction for finalizing budget submissions, which will be considered by the Regional Council in March 2024. The guideline reflects the significant financial challenges that Durham, like other municipalities in Ontario, is facing. It also underscores the urgency to reassess the funding model shared by provincial, federal, and municipal governments.

Given that the Region's expenses account for 52 percent of Durham residents' total property tax bill on average, the approved guideline translates to an approximate 3.9 percent increase in the overall property tax bill. This means an annual budget increase of about $231 for an average residential property in Durham Region.

The detailed review of the 2024 Budget is scheduled to be conducted by the Finance and Administration Committee on March 19, 2024, followed by a final assessment by the Regional Council on March 27, 2024. Residents interested in participating in the budget process or who wish to submit ideas, priorities, and questions can do so by visiting the dedicated platform at yourvoice.durham.ca/DurhamBudget. Read more.

Lakeridge Health's Medical Director Highlights Winter Health Precautions

Doctor with a stethoscope

Dr. Dan Ricciuto, the Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control and Quality and Person-Centred Care at Lakeridge Health, emphasizes the importance of health and safety during the winter holidays. In light of the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19, influenza, and other respiratory illnesses, he stresses the crucial role of vaccinations. Dr. Ricciuto particularly highlights the COVID-19, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccines as vital tools in reducing infection risks and protecting individuals and communities.

He advises that vaccinations are especially important for those at higher risk of severe illness, including older adults, young children, and those with certain medical conditions. Dr. Ricciuto notes the ideal timing for receiving COVID-19 and flu shots is now, as it takes around 10 to 14 days to develop an immune response. He mentions that both vaccines are available at local pharmacies and can be administered simultaneously.

Ontario has introduced a publicly funded high-risk older adult RSV vaccine for people aged 60 and over, available for residents in specific care settings. Dr. Ricciuto advises others in this age group to consult their primary care practitioners about the vaccine.

In addition to vaccination, Dr. Ricciuto recommends practical measures like frequent hand washing and sanitizing, wearing masks in certain settings, and staying home when sick. He also points out the importance of staying informed about the latest health guidelines from Durham Region Public Health.

For those at high risk of severe illness and experiencing symptoms, he suggests contacting a healthcare provider early. For less serious situations, he lists several community care options, including calling 811, virtual care clinics, family physicians, local pharmacists, and COVID-19 testing locations.

Dr. Ricciuto also underscores the importance of mental health during the holiday season, recognizing that it can be a difficult time for many. He encourages seeking support and engaging in activities that promote joy and relaxation. For those in crisis, he provides contact information for Durham Mental Health Services and other support lines.

Finally, Dr. Ricciuto calls for community solidarity in prioritizing health and well-being during the winter break. He hopes that responsible actions and decisions will ensure a safe and joyful holiday season for everyone. Read more.

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DRPS R.I.D.E. Campaign: If you See Somethings, Say Something

Tray containing beer

The Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) continues its Festive R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) campaign this week.

Chief Peter Moreira highlighted the campaign's urgency, noting the rise in impaired driving incidents. In 2022, there were 826 such incidents, up from 745 in 2021. So far in 2023, there have already been 745 incidents, marking a five percent increase from the previous year. Chief Moreira emphasized the unacceptable nature of these figures, particularly noting the increase in impaired driving collisions involving death or injury.

Acting Sgt. Bob Baumgartner, the R.I.D.E. team lead, shared that the campaign will employ a strategic, data-driven approach to enforcement. The DRPS is collaborating with various partners, including the OPP, MTO, Durham EMS, and fire and emergency services, to maximize their impact. He stressed the importance of community involvement in combating impaired driving and encouraged the public to report any suspicions of impaired driving by calling 9-1-1.

Additionally, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) has launched its "Project Red Ribbon" campaign, coinciding with the festive season. This campaign aims to promote sober driving and the importance of planning for a sober ride home. MADD Durham Region urges individuals to plan ahead if they intend to consume alcohol, cannabis, or other drugs.

The DRPS extends its holiday wishes to everyone, reminding them to stay safe and to report suspected impaired drivers to help save lives. Read more.

Boxing Day 2023 in Durham Region: What's Open and What's Closed

brown boxes stacked in front of a purple door

On Boxing Day, December 26, 2023, residents and visitors in Oshawa, Whitby, Pickering, Ajax, Clarington, and the rest of the Durham Region can expect the following businesses and services to be open or closed:

Open:

  • Retail Stores: Most will be operational, but it's advisable to check with individual stores for specific hours.

  • Grocery Stores: Many grocery stores will be open but with reduced hours. It's recommended to call ahead to confirm.

  • Malls: Shopping centers like Pickering Town Centre (9 AM - 6 PM) and Oshawa Centre (8 AM - 8 PM) will welcome shoppers.

  • Restaurants: A number of restaurants in Durham will be open, though calling ahead is suggested.

  • Drug Stores, Convenience Stores, and Coffee Houses: These establishments are mostly expected to be open.

  • LCBO Outlets: Selected locations, such as 400 Gibb Street in Oshawa, will operate from 9 AM to 6 PM.

  • Beer Stores: Selected stores, including the one at 75 Kingston Road, Ajax, will be open from 11 AM to 5 PM.

  • Cannabis Stores: Most cannabis stores will be open.

  • Breweries: Some breweries will be operating on reduced hours.

  • Costco and Loblaws Locations: These stores will be open, but it's best to verify their hours.

Closed:

  • Banks: All banking institutions will be closed.

  • Canada Post: There will be no mail pick-up or delivery services.

  • Government Offices and Buildings: These will be closed for the holiday.

  • Community Centres and Libraries: Both will remain closed.

Transit:

  • GO Trains and Buses: These will run on a reduced holiday schedule.

  • DRT Pulse Buses: Also operating on a reduced holiday schedule.

Waste Management:

Garbage, Blue Box, and Recycling Schedules: Collections will be pushed ahead by one day.

This information is useful for planning your activities on Boxing Day, whether it involves shopping, dining out, or using public services and transit in the Durham Region.

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Got a Favourite Whitby Business? Nominate Them to be Featured in Whitby Thrive!

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What is the origin of Boxing Day as celebrated in Canada?

Choices:

  • A. A day for boxers to compete in annual matches

  • B. A traditional day for employers to give boxed gifts to their employees

  • C. A national day for organizing and boxing household items

  • D. A commemoration of a historical boxing match

Answer posted below.

Ontario Tech University to Host 2024 U SPORTS Men's Soccer National Championship

Ontario Tech University has been selected as the host for the prestigious 2024 U SPORTS Men's Soccer National Championship. This marks a significant milestone, as it is the first time a U SPORTS championship event will be held in the City of Oshawa and at Ontario Tech. This opportunity showcases the university's growing reputation in Canadian collegiate sports and highlights Oshawa's capability to host major sporting events. Read more.

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Trivia

Correct Answer: B. A traditional day for employers to give boxed gifts to their employees.

Boxing Day, celebrated on December 26th, has its origins in a British tradition where the wealthy would box up gifts and give them to their servants or to the needy the day after Christmas. This practice was a way of thanking them for their service throughout the year. The servants would have this day off to celebrate with their families, and the boxes typically contained food, clothing, or money. This tradition was transported to Canada and other Commonwealth countries, where it has evolved into a public holiday often associated with shopping and post-Christmas sales, but its origins lie in the act of giving and generosity.